Isabelle Glacier and Isabelle Lake are located in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, which is about 35 miles west of Boulder. The area can be reached from Boulder by driving west through Boulder Canyon on Highway 42 to Nederland, then going north on the Peak-to-Peak Highway 72 to the town of Ward. From there, a National Forest Sign on the west side of the highway provides directions to the ranger station, which is 5 miles west on a paved park road. The area lies in the Roosevelt National Forest. The visitor season extends from June through October. A five-day park pass costs $8; a seasonal pass is $35.

On the west side of Brainard Lake, opposite the Pawnee Campground, are parking areas for three trailheads: Beaver Creek, Long Lake, and Mitchell Creek.

The mountain trail to Isabelle Glacier and Lake Isabelle is a fairly easy hike about 2 miles long, which takes about 2 hours to climb from the trailhead. The trail ascends through beautiful mountain scenery with towering pine trees, high flower-covered meadows, swift running streams, waterfalls, boulders, and mountain wildllfe, including moose. On a clear day, the skies are blue, the air is fresh and cool and the hike is exhilarating.

Lake Isabelle sits in a cirque - which is a bowl-shaped, steep-walled mountain basin carved by glaciation. Fed by Isabelle Glacier, picturesque Isabelle Lake is surrounded by Pawnee Peak, Shoshoni Peak, Apache Peak, and Niwot Ridge.

The trail to Pawnee Pass, which reaches an elevation of 12,541 feet, extends to the north from the lake and climbs steeply above timberline to the top of the Continental Divide.





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